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Diversity in new projects

A successful recruitment drive and a change in training approach has helped The Spence Growth Option (SGO) Project achieve its goal of a diverse workforce at its concentrator plant.

By focussing on hiring people from local communities, people without mining experience and workers with disabilities, the Project achieved a gender-balanced workforce and increased its number of local employees.

A series of information and recruitment activities occurred in the regional towns of Iquique, Calama, Antofagasta, Copiapo and La Serena and the communities of Sierra Gorda and Baquedano, reaching nearly 1,200 people.

The project also introduced differentiated training for people with and without experience in mining, engineering and procurement, as well as with construction companies engaged by the SGO. This helped improve knowledge in areas from equipment assembly to commissioning.

All recruitment goals were exceeded, resulting in a workforce that was 61 per cent female. Twenty-two per cent of all employees were hired from local communities and 60 per cent from the Antofagasta region. This included some employees with disabilities.

Gender balanced programs at Escondida

Escondida faced the challenge of embedding inclusion and diversity within an operation that traditionally had a high percentage of males and low employee turnover.

As with SGO, Escondida adopted a balanced hiring strategy, consistently achieving gender balance month-on-month through FY2019.

The apprentices and graduates recruitment strategy delivered greater than 50 per cent female representation, and has resulted in 50 women joining Escondida since 2016.

In FY2019 there was a 4.1 per cent increase in total female representation and a 5.9 per cent increase in female representation in leadership managerial roles. Escondida’s total female representation at the end of the financial year was 15.5 per cent, up from 7.4 per cent in FY2016. Female turnover has also decreased, from 6.6 per cent in FY2016 to 2.1 per cent at the end of FY2019.

Mine Operator Assistant Victoria Moreno is an example of the positive effect of this dedicated focus on diversity. After many years working in various camp service roles, Victoria was inspired to pursue an operator role and, in FY2019, commenced working as a truck operator in the North Pit at Escondida.

The Mine Apprenticeship Program also selected 45 female maintainers from a class of 81, enhancing local employment, increasing the gender diversity of our workforce and creating new opportunities for women in the mobile maintenance field that has historically been predominantly male.

Reflecting on her participation in the program, Maintainer Trainee Raquel Gavia said: “I am a woman from an Indigenous community, specifically the Toconao community. This has been a very good opportunity in my life; one I did not imagine I could have. I have tried to take advantage of it, as I do not have experience and they gave me the possibility to develop. I will always be grateful. Women also have the right to work, and this opportunity allows us to achieve this dream.”

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